Until now, the only thing the NFL and NFLPA have been able to agree on is that they need more time to come to agreements.
That’s because, according to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, the two sides have signed off on a rookie wage scale.
The owners backed off the idea of requiring first-round picks to sign five-year deals, instead limiting the contracts to four years before a player could become a free agent. The agreement is also expected to include a stipulation limiting the amount of guaranteed money and signing bonus offered to draft picks.
Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? The league accepted that if players were no longer going to get in excess of $20 million guaranteed, they should at least be entitled to shorter deals.
This allows good players drafted later to make big bucks faster, while it limits the financial damage teams suffer when they’re forced to pay busts like JaMarcus Russell millions of wasted dollars up front, with no reasonable way of escaping a long-term rookie contract.
But the bad news is that this might not totally change the way in which top picks will be paid — and that’s the system’s biggest flaw. Last year, for instance, No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford signed a six-year, $72 million dollar rookie deal with $50 million guaranteed.
While shorter contracts will obviously mean less money, the per-year value might not change much. According to Cole, the league proposed that the salary of a top pick shrink to $19 million over five years, with $6 million guaranteed. That reportedly didn’t fly.
Still, progress. What’s next?